Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Major Select - A Major Change?

We are so used to celebrating all of our kids’ incremental as well as big successes.  When something major comes along in one of our (us parents) lives however, it almost seems somehow random.  However random this major thing had appeared to me, there is truly nothing random about it.  All of the steps that had brought us to this point in time were well in the making, since the very beginning of Alex’s military career.  Alex was recently on the list of Air Force Major Selects for JAG Officers.  I was not the slightest surprised.  Although he has some months ahead of him and others to promote sooner, before we know it, that time will be soon here.  We will be celebrating his achievement, his dedication and his promotion.  Our family has reached another milestone in our path.

So what does this all mean to our family?  Do titles really change anything?  Will our day - to - day life be any different than it is today?  Well first, it doesn’t feel like we’re at the beginning of our military adventure anymore.  We are well into its progression.  We’ve endured a deployment during my twin pregnancy in ‘09.  We had the twin’s birth and Jake’s autism diagnosis at our very first base along with Alex being a Lieutenant and then his promotion to Captain at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX.   Jake learned to ride a horse in Texas, our twins are literally Texans, and I had my first university music teaching job in Texas.

Now, Alex is a major select at our second base – third assignment, at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL.  Of course this means the obvious change in rank, pay raise, and change of title.  Perhaps it means some more credibility and respect in his career field.  Hopefully it means continued job security, which is huge in today’s economy and dwindling job market.  It also means continued health coverage for the kids’ speech therapies as well as Jake’s ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis - autism therapy) and occupational therapies – the ABA coverage, being the largest benefit of all three.  It means continued career satisfaction for Alex, who has been very fulfilled with his work, and that in itself, is a major lifetime achievement.  How often do we run into someone who is truly satisfied with his/her job?  Basically, our whole life revolves around Alex’s job.  Moreover, I not only married Alex, I married the military too, for better or for worse.

When we were getting ready to move to our first assignment and Jake was just a couple months old, a friend mailed me a book that she came across called: Married to the Military.  I remember being introduced to all of the acronyms and tips about enduring and enjoying the military lifestyle.  One of my favorite acronyms coined in this book is CINCHouse: Commander in Chief of the House.  That has become a playful nickname when we discuss military stuff.  If someone calls to invite us to some event, Alex would say “hold on, I’ll have to check with CINCHouse.”  It seems like a lifetime ago, when I first laid eyes on this book, and it has only been six years in.  Having children changes someone’s life so much already.  Having lived our military life, with the moves, deployment, work related travel, making new friends and leaving old ones behind, living in new places, being away from family, enduring special needs with our older son and speech delays with our twins, feels like a lifetime of events compressed into only a handful of years.   

Our twins will soon be four years old and barely resemble babies to me anymore – where did the time go?  I’ll tell you where it went.  That time went into the every day things that make up our life of creativity with autism, twins and military adventures.  When we live through it, some things feel like they are never going to end.  Other things however, the enjoyable things, like the way that Max cracks me up every day, Miriam’s sweet laugh, and Jake’s beautiful smile and thick dark hair, feel like they are going to change as soon as I flinch my eye lashes one too many times.  I can’t imagine them as teenagers yet.  I’m not ready for it.  I want to hold on to these beautiful childhood moments forever, those moments that take your breath away.

Something has always told me intuitively that we were supposed to walk this path, to have this life with its challenges and high points.  Somehow, this life all came together for us.  All of the stones have lined up a certain way to create this specific path that we are walking.  Things are by no means perfect.  Certain situations are presented to us in our lives.  It is within those situations, that comes a certain potential.  What we do with this potential, is how we make the best of every situation and every opportunity that presents itself, as it reveals itself to us across our path.  For example, planting some roots everywhere we live and making it a home, without feeling like it’s only temporary, and making the most out of that location by embracing the real flavor and essence of the place with open arms.

For now, a certain Captain in this family has transitioned to a Major Select and that is a real simcha (a happy occasion).  Within this milestone, there is potential for a continued Air Force commitment of "integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do."  To me though, these core values are merely a reflection of what he does every day at home with his family already, and of course with his job as well.  Time has to simply play itself out and line up to be the right timing, to make it official, when he pins on in a designated ceremony.  The key is, that greatness comes from within.  Certain situations that present themselves to us however, reflect and magnify what is already exuding from the inside.   

Some exceptional situations, draw on our reserves and inner strength.  We may not even have known we’ve had such reserves, but when we are called upon to step up to meet all sorts of challenges, its all about perseverance for us.  Our child lives with autism and we give it all we’ve got, even when we don’t have anything left to give and we're running on fumes.  So in our family, we’ve experienced a Major change times two.  Moving forward, we cheer everyone on in our bunch.  For one day soon enough, our kids will be going through their own metamorphosis.  Spreading out their lovely wings and gaining their own momentum, they will look down with a smile, as we lose our voices, endlessly cheering them on.  And just as our Air Force planes soar towards the horizon, they will be flying high, up and over the silvery clouds.

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